22nd June     No Comments

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
    • 1.1 RNC
    • 1.2 DNC
  • 2 Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees
  • 3 Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

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22nd June     No Comments

18 Motorcyclists killed during Bike Week

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18 Motorcyclists killed during Bike Week

Monday, March 13, 2006

2006 was the deadliest Datona Beach Bike Week ever, with a total of 18 bikers being killed on Florida roads, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. This year’s festivities brought in about 500,000 bikers to the Daytona area, and 14 of those killed were from Florida. Walter Fliss, 51, had recently bought his motorcycle before being killed when he drove into a construction site. Another biker rode into a guardrail, and others were killed on their way home.

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21st June     No Comments

Copyright on musical recordings extended by twenty years in EU

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Copyright on musical recordings extended by twenty years in EU

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Council of the European Union voted yesterday to extend the term of copyright on sound recordings by twenty years, from 50 years to 70, preventing a number of early recordings of 1960s rock musicians including The Beatles from entering the public domain. The 1962 hit “Love Me Do” would have entered the public domain in 2012 if this legislation had not been introduced. EU member states have to enact the copyright extension within two years.

The news was welcomed by representatives of the recording industry and by some recording artists. Cliff Richard has campaigned for term extension. Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones said the decision was “obviously advantageous” to performers, and Bjorn Ulvaeus from Abba welcomed the continued control over the group’s recordings: “Now I won’t have to see Abba being used in a TV commercial”. Geoff Taylor from the British Phonographic Industry said “[a]n exceptional period of British musical genius was about to lose its protection. As a matter of principle, it is right that our musicians should benefit from their creativity during their lifetimes, and that they should not be disadvantaged compared to musicians in other countries.”

Extension of the copyright term also has critics. Jim Killock, from the British digital rights advocacy group the Open Rights Group (ORG), said the move “puts money into the pockets of big labels” but will be “unlikely to benefit smaller artists and it will mean that a lot of sound recordings that are out of print will stay out of print”. Singer Sandie Shaw, of the Featured Artists’ Coalition, said the move would be “extremely good news for record companies and collection agencies, but bad news for artists” and would lead to artists having “20 more years in servitude to contracts that are no longer appropriate to a digital age”.

The extension to 70 years is less than that EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy proposed in 2008. At that time, Wikinews interviewed Eddan Katz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Becky Hogge, then Executive Director of ORG, in Brussels. The two organisations were gathering like-minded groups to oppose harmonisation with the US’s 95-year term. Characterising the sought extension as “Cliff Richard’s pension”, Hogge asserted, “[w]hat you’ve got at the end of the day with copyright term extension is basically […] rent seeking by special interest groups lobbying governments to change the law in order that they may economically gain directly.”

Two reviews of intellectual property rights in Britain have concluded it would not be economically beneficial to extend copyright terms on sound recordings. The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property in 2006 concluded extension of the copyright term would “negatively impact upon consumers and industry”. The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth in 2011 concluded it would be “economically detrimental”. A study conducted by Bournemouth University’s Center for Intellectual Property Policy and Management concluded 72% of the economic benefits of the term extension would go to record labels, with 28% going to artists, only 4% of which are going to less successful artists.

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21st June     No Comments

Professional athletes in US linked to online steroid ring

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Professional athletes in US linked to online steroid ring

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A steroid distribution network exposed by a New York prosecutor is reported to have connections to a number of high-profile professional athletes, including retired boxer Evander Holyfield and current Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr.

Federal agents raided two pharmacies in Florida and Alabama which were tabbed by a prosecutor in Albany County, New York as having links to illicit distributors of steroids. Eight people have been arrested in connection to this ring, and up to 24 people are individuals of interest to federal agents and may be arrested before the investigation is over.

According to records seized during the raids, customers of the pharmacies included Holyfield, Matthews, former baseball star Jose Canseco, and former pitcher Jason Grimsley. Investigators reportedly have found evidence that performance-enhancing drugs were prescribed to a number of professional athletes as well as international bodybuilders. Further evidence showed that Dr. Richard Rydze, team doctor of the Pittsburgh Steelers, purchased $150,000 worth of human growth hormone on his personal credit card. Calls to Dr. Rydze were not immediately returned.

Those arrested include Stan and Naomi Loomis, owners of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. Two other employees of the pharmacy (including Loomis’s brother, Mike) were arrested as well. P. David Soares, Albany County prosecutor, indicated in filings from his office that Signature is believed to be a “producer” of anabolic steroids. Grimsley and Rydze were reported to be customers of Signature Pharmacy. Holyfield, Matthews, and Canseco were allegedly on customer lists from Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Alabama. Both pharmacies and their owners are implicated in the steroid ring.

According to SI.com, Matthews received shipments of Genotropin, a synthetic growth hormone. The shipments were sent to the address of one of his former minor-league teammates in Mansfield, Texas. Matthews claimed he did not know why his name was on Applied Pharmacy’s customer list. He did not comment further on the situation, stating that he was not “in a position to answer specific questions.”

On Wednesday, Holyfield indicated that he was “not overly concerned about the situation.” He did mention that the only purchase of medical supplies that can be attributed to him were medications for his father, who died of a heart ailment in January. Later that evening, Holyfield released a more pointed denial, stating, “I do not use steroids. I have never used steroids. I resent that my name has been linked to known steroid users by sources who refuse to be identified in order to generate publicity for their investigation.”

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21st June     No Comments

New Ghanaian currency introduced

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New Ghanaian currency introduced

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New currency notes are being introduced in Ghana today. The new currency, to be called the Ghanaian cedi, replaces the previous cedi which has been in circulation since 17 February, 1967.

The Ghanaian cedi will be exchanged at 10,000 old cedis to one new Ghanaian cedi. The exchange rate against the U.S. dollar starts at GH¢0.92 to one U.S. dollar. The new ISO code for the currency is GHS, and the new symbol, GH¢.

The change, which was originally scheduled by the Bank of Ghana to start on July 1, 2007, will instead start on Tuesday July 3, as the original date is Ghana’s Republic Day.

Monday, July 2, was declared a public holiday as the actual Republic Day fell on a Sunday. July 3, is thus the first day that the currency will be available to the public as banks open to the general public. This is because ATMs were shut down over the weekend so that the currencies could be checked and replaced in all of them nationwide. The old and new currencies will be used concurrently until the end of December 2007, when the old currency will cease to be legal tender.

This is the third Ghanaian cedi to be introduced in the country since 1965.

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20th June     No Comments

Finnish trio shot dead in Brazil

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Finnish trio shot dead in Brazil

Monday, December 5, 2011

It has emerged that three Finnish nationals have been shot dead in Brazil. Their bodies were found near João Pessoa in a sugarcane field on Friday.

The three were from Savonlinna but two of them — a married couple — owned a second home nearby where they spent winters. The retired surgeon, 72, and his wife, a retired gynaecologist, 68, had been trying to sell the nearby property. The third victim was a nurse, 60. All were from Savonlinna.

The bodies were found in Paraiba beside a road connecting Taquara and Pitimbu. G1 has reported local police are questioning five people and treating all the deaths as homicides. The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation does not plan to get directly involved but is helping the investigation with background information.

Local cash, a Finnish credit card, a mobile phone, and jewellery had all been left after the crimes. There were blood traces inside the house. The Helsingin Sanomat suggests a financial dispute relating to the house sale may have been the motive.

The couple has spent the last five winters in Brazil, but Finnish ambassador Jari Luoto called the area in question “dangerous and restless.”

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20th June     No Comments

Cadillac unveils Obama’s ‘Beast’, the 2009 Presidential State Car

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Cadillac unveils Obama’s ‘Beast’, the 2009 Presidential State Car

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The US Secret Service has released the first photos Wednesday of the new presidential limousine that will transport Barack Obama down Pennsylvania Avenue next Tuesday as part of the 56th Presidential inaugural parade after he is sworn in at the Capitol. The First Limo – the 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine – will replace President Bush’s Cadillac DTS Presidential Limousine that rolled out in 2004.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, the hulking machine is a new model year 2009, modified limousine. According to General Motors, the new “2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine” is the first not to carry a specific model name. The Obama Mobile was introduced on January 14 with noticeably different styling borrowed from the Cadillac Escalade and STS, while the suspension is most likely related to the Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty truck.

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Mr. David Caldwell of General Motors has revealed that the sleek black car would include a hand-crafted interior and “state of the art electronics.” The car’s high-tech security features include five-inch-thick (12.7-centimeter-thick) bombproof glass, tough-as-nails tires, and a sealed interior that’s invulnerable to chemical attack. The armoured limousine has been heavily modified to withstand potential attacks by weapons or bombs. The San Francisco Chronicle puts it in a proper perspective noting, “a half-inch of transparent armor is enough to stop a .44 Magnum round at point-blank range; at a thickness of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches, the same material can withstand higher-velocity bullets fired from military assault rifles.”

According to spy photographer, Brenda Priddy, and General Motors, the limousine, which has the intricate, dual-textured grille, is also equipped with standard Goodyear Regional RHS truck tires in a 285/70R19.5 size, on 19.5-inch wheels. The rims have a run-flat device (manufactured by Hutchinson Industries). Xenon headlights from the Escalade are installed in the front, while the rear has some STS part. The doors are at least 20 centimeters (8 inches) thick. It carries the US flag on the front fenders and an embroidered Seal of the President of the United States is affixed to several panels in the back.

According to the US Secret Service, the vehicle would be a “valuable asset” in providing the President with the highest level of protection. “Although many of the vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world,” Nicholas Trotta, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations said in a statement. The new limousine is the responsibility of White House Transportation Agency.

One of the specifications is that we don’t talk about the specifications.

The Presidential State Car is the official state car used by the President of the United States. It is informally known as “Cadillac One”. The current Presidential State Car is a 2005 hand-crafted, armored, and stretched DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) built on a GM four-wheel drive platform. It was first used on the second inauguration parade of George W. Bush in 2005. But the version to be used by President Obama uses a GMC Topkick chassis, while maintaining the Cadillac exterior.

The President of the United States travels in one of two armoured Cadillac limousines based upon the normal sedan, the Cadillac DTS, with heavy customisation. Lincoln cars have also been used in the past, most notably by President John F Kennedy. The current limousines were custom-built by O’Gara, Hess and Eisenhart, founded in Fairfield, Ohio in 1942. It specializes in armouring limousines for presidents and heads of state.

President William McKinley was the first US president to ride in an automobile. However, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who rode on the first government-owned car, a white Stanley Steamer. Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, was the first president to use a presidential state car that was permanently stored in the White House garage.

Meanwhile, Obama’s 2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi was auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $100,000 and a buy-it-now price of $1,000,000. It has less than 21,000 miles on it and is in like-new condition. He leased the car in 2004 and traded it for a Ford Escape Hybrid in 2007. The car was sold to Tim O’Boyle.

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19th June     No Comments

Australia saves three billion plastic bags from circulation

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Australia saves three billion plastic bags from circulation

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has praised supermarket shoppers and operators for cutting three billion plastic bags from circulation during the past two years. He said a report compiled by the Australian National Retailers Association, representing major supermarkets, showed that by the end of last year supermarkets had reduced their annual use of lightweight, single-use bags by 45 per cent compared with 2002.

“This is an enormous achievement by shoppers and supermarket management and a clear demonstration of a behavioural change by thousands of Australians,” Senator Campbell said. “The cutback means fewer bags in the litter stream. The goal must be to stop plastic bags getting into the litter stream and spoiling Australia’s environment.”

The Senator says the result came from entirely voluntary action – “no regulations, no levies or additional costs to shoppers. I am delighted that the major supermarkets are committed to achieving the 50 per cent goal by the end of this year. I also share their view that development of a viable degradable bag to replace existing lightweight plastic ones is a key to achieving further significant reductions.”

Plastics have been widely used in Australia in the past few decades but environmentalists say plastic bags have had a devastating impact on the nation’s natural environment. According to Clean Up Australia plastic bags can take between 20 and 1000 years to break down. Despite their recyclable nature, an estimated 6.67 billion or 36,700 tonnes of plastic bags are disposed of in landfill sites throughout Australia each year.

Many thousands of marine mammals and seabirds die every year around the world as a result of plastic litter. A 2004 NSW Parliamentary paper reported that plastic bags are of “significant concern in the marine and aquatic environment, as aquatic life can be threatened through entanglement, suffocation and ingestion.” The then Federal Environment Minister was reported as saying: “All environmental ministers believe that all plastic bags should be phased out within five years. If this voluntary campaign isn’t working then of course we have to consider what to do (next)….”

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18th June     No Comments

Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

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Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.

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18th June     No Comments

Senator David Vitter to earmark $100,000 for creationist group

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Senator David Vitter to earmark $100,000 for creationist group

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

David Vitter, a Republican United States Senator from Louisiana, has earmarked US$100,000 for Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a conservative creationist organization. Vitter put the earmark into the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal year 2008. The bill specifies the Louisiana Family Forum received the money “to develop a plan to promote better science education.”

Vitter has close ties to the LFF through Dan Richey, a former politician and the group’s grass-roots coordinator, who received $17,250 as a consultant in Vitter’s 2004 Senate race. Also Vitter’s campaign paid Beryl Amedee who is the education resource council chairwoman for the Louisiana Family Forum.

As part of the Louisiana Family Forum efforts to “combat” the teaching of evolution, the group included Kent Hovind‘s “Battle Plan” on its website. Hovind, whose education from the non-accredited Patriot Bible University is widely considered to be a diploma mill, is currently serving a ten year prison sentence for tax evasion and obstructing federal agents.

In a written statement Vitter explained, “This program helps supplement and support educators and school systems that would like to offer all of the explanations in the study of controversial science topics such as global warming and the life sciences.” However, reporter James Gill poked fun at Vitter’s admission of using the services of Pamela Martin and Associates, a prostitution service ran by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, and his recent creationist earmark. “We were better off when Vitter, in between homilies on the sanctity of marriage, was blowing his own money on prostitutes. At least the kids were safe,” Gill wrote. He continued, “They will not be if the Louisiana Family Forum gets its way.”

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